If you’ve been trying to predict what after-school care will look like for the 2021/2022 school year, you are not alone. After-care providers have been having a hard time as well. “Planning has been tough,” said Dan Clayton of Mad Science Portland/Vancouver in June 2021. “We would usually have the next year planned out already, and instead are scrambling to plan out next year. Much of the planning probably won’t happen until August as the school districts still haven’t figured out what they are doing next year.”
The good news is that providers do want to get back to offering programs that are crucial for working parents. This includes the SUN Community Schools program, commonly known as SUN, a collaboration between Multnomah County, Portland Parks & Recreation, local school districts and community organizations. SUN Community Schools were not able to provide their normal free and low-cost after-school classes in the 2020/2021 school year and instead focused on helping families access food, utilities, technology and housing assistance. “SUN Community Schools are hoping to offer in person after-school enrichment in the fall,” says Ryan Yambra, a Multnomah County spokesperson. “Changes in state guidance or decisions from local school districts may affect our services, but all decisions will be made collaboratively to ensure student safety.”
The One With Heart after-school program that picks up students from certain schools and takes them back to its martial arts studio also has a plan to go forward. “We will be returning to our transported after school Kung Fu program in the fall,” says Danielle McGrath, One With Heart’s kids’ program director. “Our program picks up at Richmond, Glencoe and Atkinson elementary schools daily. The class sizes will be smaller as we create stable groups and adhere to Oregon Health Authority safety guidelines.” McGrath also says that One With Heart’s after-school classes started filling up in early summer and that working parents are eager to get their kids signed up with an activity they enjoy — so they can get back to uninterrupted work hours.
Check out our August Issue: Back to School for a list of after-school providers who are planning to operate in the upcoming school year or contact your child’s school to find out if any onsite after-care programs will be available.